Page authors: Don Knoke, David Giblin
Epipactis gigantea
giant helleborine

Distribution: Occurring on both sides of the Cascades crest in Washington; British Columbia to Baja California, east to the Rocky Mountains and in scattered locations in the Great Plains.

Habitat: Stream banks, lake margins, around springs and seeps, especially in thermal waters in otherwise desert regions.

Flowers: April-July

Origin: Native

Conservation Status: Not of concern


Glabrous, perennial herbs from short rhizomes, the 1-many stems mostly 3-7 dm. tall.


Leaves alternate, numerous, sheathing, the lowest blade almost lacking, but gradually enlarged upward; blades broadly elliptic-lanceolate, 7-14 cm. long and 1.5-5 cm. wide.


Inflorescence a one-sided, bracteate, 3-15 flowered raceme; sepals unequal, coppery-green, 12-16 mm. long, the lower 2 spreading; upper 2 petals similar to the sepals, but more brownish-purple; the third petal (lip) 15-20 mm. long, sac-like, with prominent, raised, purplish lines, 3-lobed, the outer lobes prominent, the central lobe curved downward, greenish-yellow, triangular-ovate, the tip flattened; stamens and style fused to form a column 6-9 mm. long.


Capsule reflexed, 2-3.5 cm. long.

Accepted Name:
Epipactis gigantea Douglas ex Hook.
Publication: Fl. Bor.-Amer. 2: 202, plate 202. 1839.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Amesia gigantea (Douglas ex Hook.) A. Nelson & J.F. Macbr.
Epipactis gigantea Douglas ex Hook. f. citrina P.M. Br.
Epipactis gigantea Douglas ex Hook. f. rubrifolia P.M. Br.
Helleborine gigantea (Douglas ex Hook.) Druce
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Epipactis gigantea in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Epipactis gigantea checklist entry.

E-Flora BC: Epipactis gigantea atlas page.

CalPhotos: Epipactis gigantea photos.

USDA Plants: Epipactis gigantea information.

25 photographs:
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